The most hyped movie of the summer, Suicide Squad hit theatres on August 5th. Since then, there has been nothing but harsh critical reviews, much like DC’s last big movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. A lot of the complaints are similar: choppy editing, lack of a plot, and bad character development. While I do not think Suicide Squad is nearly as good as I was hoping, it is still a solid film, definitely worth the obscene cost of movie tickets, as is exhibited by the movie holding the August opening weekend record with $135 Million.
Let us start with the choppy editing; this is an area where I actually DO agree with the critics. Since the release stories have been coming out that Warner Bros. was worried about director David Ayer’s dark tone of the film. Apparently, WB edited their own light hearted version of the film, and the final cut that we saw was a combination of that and Ayer’s version. Rumor has it that WB is already interfering in the production of Wonder Woman. This seems to be the overall biggest problem with DC film adaptations right now. Every critic loves to compare these films to their Marvel counterparts. Yes, the Marvel cinematic universe came first, that doesn’t mean DC has to follow in their shadow. DC is trying to tell stories with a darker, grittier feel than Marvel, yet WB feels the need to insert humor.
For those saying there was not a clear plot, I call bullshit. The film starts off with the usual origin of Suicide Squad: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), head of the secret government organization known as A.R.G.U.S. is looking to create a team of villains to do her bidding on missions. In this case, the team, Task Force X, is to counter any aliens or meta humans that may go attack the planet. Now you may be wondering how she plans to control such an unruly bunch. Well I am glad that you asked that question! Waller has a nanite bomb placed in the neck of each squad member, ready to blow at the first sign of disobedience. One of the Squad members, Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), is an ancient, powerful witch who Waller controls by literally possessing her heart. It becomes apparent very early on that this is going to be your villain. The plot that the critics can’t seem to find, is Amanda Waller’s island of misfit toys must band together and stop an ancient evil from destroying the world. I guess that isn’t nearly as good a plot as, ohhhh, Guardians of the Galaxy, where a team of antiheros must stop a villain from using an ancient power to destroy a world. Oh shit! The critics loved that one didn’t they. Side note-please do not take this as me bashing Guardians because I love that movie.
As far as character development, this was definitely done better for certain members of the Squad. Killer Croc (Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Slipknot (Adam Beach) are barely fleshed out at all. Deadshot (Will Smith) is developed quite well; his motivation through and through is his love for his daughter. Through flashbacks this relationship is established, and throughout the film it continues to be a driving force for him. Diabolo (Jay Hernandez) was another character who’s family was the biggest part of who he is. After accidentally using his powers to kill his wife and kids in a fit of rage, he has vowed to never use his powers again. That is until he realizes that he might be the only one who’s powers are enough to help stop Enchantress. This is a story of redemption, as is the case for many of the Squad members. Davis’ portrayal of Waller is so on the money it is scary; don’t believe me? Stay for the after credit scene. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), is not nearly as developed as she could be, but considering that she is the mostly commonly known character in this group, she doesn’t need to be. Robbie’s portrayal of Harley, as Joker’s (Jared Leto) puppet of a girlfriend was spot on. Yes, she was overly sexualized. Yes, she is in a horribly abusive and unhealthy relationship with an absolute sociopath. Guess what folks: that is how the comics portray her too. Ayer is not glorifying that, he is just adapting it to the big screen. Hell, Joker’s mistreatment of Harley adds another layer of crazy to the clown prince of crime.
Speaking of Leto’s Joker, I am still torn. This is a very different looking Joker than we have every seen on the big screen, leading many to speculate that this is not ACTUALLY the Joker. The common fan theory is that this Joker is really Jason Todd, the Robin whom Joker (and Harley according to this film) killed. Well, Ayer has since squashed that theory, but the fact is still there that this is not the Joker people are used to. Unless of course you have been a fan of comics for many years and then you might see glimmers of various jokers throughout the years. Batman R.I.P and The Dark Knight Returns come to mind. I like what Leto was trying to accomplish with his Joker, even if I think he overacted it at times. The least believable part of his performance is believing that he would come to rescue Harley out of love. If anything, he would be rescuing her because someone else has something he considers to be his own.
Overall, Suicide Squad is a highly entertaining, action packed comic book movie with very likable anti-heros stepping up and saving the day. While the critics are busy trashing it, the box office is luckily telling a different story. Unlike BvS, Suicide Squad did not see a huge Monday and Tuesday drop off following opening weekend. My biggest criticisms fall on the editing and WB’s interfering in the creative process. If the powers that be back off a little, the rest of the DC films leading up to Justice League should be fantastic!